Little boys and girls love puppies and that does not change when they become ill. It should not surprise anyone that cancer therapy dogs bring kids joy, even when they are undergoing chemotherapy.
A randomized clinical trial proved that children do better when dogs are part of their cancer therapy. It also proved that their parents experience less stress as well.
106 pediatric patients were studied during their cancer therapy at five major children’s hospitals. The study assessed the benefits of interacting with one of 26 trained therapy dogs. They determined that cancer therapy dogs bring kids joy and relieve parental stress.
The children were able to handle the unpleasant process of chemotherapy with much less stress. Their excitement of playing with the puppy helped them to ignore much of the negative components of the therapy, such as needle sticks.
Bryce and Mitchell are two little boys who fell in love with Swoosh at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee in June, 2014. Their experience, and that of the other study participants in the five major pediatric hospitals, were so encouraging that there is a national push to offer this benefit to hospitals across the country.
Meet Swoosh, a Cancer Therapy Dog
Swoosh is now 10 years old and has been a cancer therapy dog for six years. He and Michelle Thompson have been together since he was 8 weeks old. They make a great team in bringing joy to kids with cancer.
Four of the worst words a parent could ever hear are, “Your child has cancer”. Watching their child go through the fear and pain that accompany cancer therapy is incredibly stressful. These cancer therapy dogs proved to relieve much of that stress over the course of the study.
Robin Ganzert is the President and Ceo of the American Humane Society. It is thanks to them that the randomized, clinical trial to evaluate the benefit of therapy dogs to children with cancer was done.
The results of this trial were so positive that the American Humane Society is encouraging every pediatric hospital in the country to offer this service.
Once you view this brief clip of Swoosh being reunited with Bryce and Mitchell several years after they first met during the study, you will agree.
Every child undergoing treatment for cancer deserves to have the same benefits these boys enjoyed in 2014. You can see the residual feelings they have for one another in the video below.
If you enjoy reading about dogs and the ways they help humans with medical conditions, you will like this article. https://happymutt.org/medical-conditions-that-dogs-can-detect/
Photo Courtesy of Pixabay